The Watchtower Society attempts to justify those words by saying:
"He is showing that all who want everlasting life must exercise faith in the sacrifice that he is to make when he offers up his perfect human body and pours out his lifeblood.
Really? How about the Last Supper? Mt 26:28, “This is my blood of the covenant”? Well, that’s where the home-made Bible comes in handy:
this means my ‘blood of the covenant,’
What do you mean, “means”? Doesn’t your Bible say in 1 Corinthians 10:16…
The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of the Christ?
Is it, or is it not a sharing in the Christ’s blood? If it “means” his blood, it is not a sharing in his blood. If the blood consumption was such a big no-no, why would the Christ give such a harsh memorial, even if it were merely symbolical?
In their discussion of the “Passover Meal” they conveniently quote from their version of Luke, which makes it simple to avoid the issue entirely:
[…] Each drinks from the cup, about which Jesus says: “This cup means the new covenant by virtue of my blood, which is to be poured out in your behalf.”—Luke 22:20. […] Thus Jesus arranges for a memorial of his death […] Jesus says that his blood “is to be poured out in behalf of many for forgiveness of sins.” Among the many to gain such forgiveness are his faithful apostles and others like them. They are the ones who will be with him in the Kingdom of his Father.
Twelve times he said he was the bread that came down from heaven; four times he said they would have “to eat my flesh and drink my blood.” But some still argue this is merely symbolic. If it were, then it would be an invention of the Catholic Church, a distortion of the true Faith. But the Early Christians understood this very literally.
In the year 140, Justin Martyr, wrote, “Not as common bread or common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nourished, . . . is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus” (First Apology 66:1–20).
Cyril of Jerusalem, around the year 350, said, “Do not, therefore, regard the bread and wine as simply that, for they are, according to the Master’s declaration, the body and blood of Christ. Even though the senses suggest to you the other, let faith make you firm. Do not judge in this matter by taste, but be fully assured by faith, not doubting that you have been deemed worthy of the body and blood of Christ” (Catechetical Discourses: Mystagogic 4:22:9).
The Romans, too, understood that the Christians took this very literally. The references to the “breaking of the bread” in the Acts is a symbol to describe the Lord’s Body and Blood. Early Christians were for 3 centuries an underground Church accused of cannibalism. Concern over pagan misunderstanding led to the adoption of the “arcane discipline”, a self-imposed secrecy, even from catechumens (those studying to join the Church).